So as Brian mentioned over in his thread (Link) Air NZ is currently using widebodies on an Auckland-Christchurch-Auckland rotation most days. This was originally scheduled to be done with the 787-9 that operates the Houston service, which departs too early (4pm) on the Northern Summer timetable for the usual trans-Tasman rotation that NZ's widebodies do between long haul flights, so the airframe does an AKL-CHC rotation instead. Air NZ also added extra 777-200 flights during the current April school holidays on select dates.
Being a nerd with perhaps more money than sense, I bought a ticket on one of the 777-200 services (in my defence, it only cost me $69NZ for the flight on the 777) and went for a day trip to Auckland on one of my days off. Luckily I flew the day before the RR Trent 1000 disruptions hit - the schedule is in a bit of chaos now, a different aircraft type everyday on the 789 rotation.
I should also mention that for an extra $30 (or 30 Airpoints dollars - of which I have plenty, having an Airpoints credit card) one gets to sit in the Business Premier cabin, and since I'm not normally rich enough to fly business, I went that extra mile . They stressed that the service is actually standard economy service (tea/coffee with a snack), but the seat is no less comfortable, and even the IFE was enabled (I even managed to be watching The Last Jedi - or as much of it as I could get through in the 85 minute flight anyway) making for what is objectively a very comfortable flight.
The day started with a Jetstar flight from Christchurch up to Auckland - I'm normally an air NZ loyalist when it comes to domestic flights, but I cheaped out in this case. Saw the 787-9 on NZ594 (the regularly scheduled 787 flight) parked next to us as we pushed back.
A southerly was blowing so it was a runway 20 departure.
Spotted my 777 as I got off the Jetstar A320 - that's it there next to the SQ 744F on the remote stand. Yes, ZK-OKH is still in old livery.
We were processed through Gate 24 at the domestic terminal - and were greeted by buses outside.
There's something amazing about remote stand boarding on an airplane as big as a 777 - you step off the bus and simply stand in awe, for the scale of the aircraft truly has to be seen to be believed.
Or turn to the side halfway up the steps, to find a massive engine occupying almost your entire field of view (and that's just an RR one for the 772, not even the GE90-115B)
Onboard, for once I took the left turn and made my way into the business class cabin - photo was actually taken on my way out, as most other "business class" pax beat me onto the plane. Not much photography took place during the flight - I was a bit preoccupied with the motorised recliner seat and the IFE (plus with the seats facing into the aisle it's a pain in the neck to try and twist around to take photos of the outside world).
In Christchurch we have a more convenient (if less nerd-friendly) setup - the first few widebody gates in the international terminal is also connected (via corridor) to the domestic terminal, so there was no second round of "stand in awe of the aircraft" - instead I snapped a picture through the corridor window.